Workers protest reappointment of Energy Commission boss

Workers of Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) protest
Workers of Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) protest

Members of staff of the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) on Tuesday expressed their displeasure over the reappointment of Eli Bala as the Director-General of the commission.

Ibrahim Usman, the Secretary, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ECN branch, at a news conference in Abuja, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse his reappointment.

Some of the placards displayed by some members of ECN staff read: “Bala: We will not allow you to bury ECN after killing it’’, “E.J Bala: You Are Not Welcome’’.

Others are “After 29 years, ECN Lacks Appropriate Condition and Scheme of Service’’.

Mr Usman accused Mr Bala, a professor, of misappropriating the funds of the commission, adding that there was a breach of administrative procedure in his appointment.

According to him, Mr Bala’s reappointment for another term of five years does not augur well for the progress of the commission due to corrupt practices and high handedness in piloting the affairs of ECN.

“For all well-meaning staff of the commission, the last five years of Bala’s tenure as the Director-General of ECN can best be summerised as that of `rust and rot’.

“Aside being unproductive and unethical in industrial relations, there was lack of focus and abandonment of primary mandate.

“Bala has done nothing to deserve second tenure instead the anti-graft agencies should be directed to investigate his stewardship.

“Hence, his first tenure is better imagined in a wild dream than experienced again for another five years.

“This wallowing mismanagement under Bala’s leadership of the commission and his cronies know no bounds as even operational funds were looted spuriously to satisfy the interest of some official of the Ministry Science and Technology,’’ Usman said.

He further called on anti-graft agencies to unravel alleged mismanagement of international donor funded projects handled by the commission.

“Particularly, the mystery surrounding how African Development Bank Fund of about 975 million dollars of Lake Chad Basin project was expended.

“Similarly, money had been budgeted and squandered under the National Energy Data Bank project, a core mandate of the ECN with nothing to show for it,’’ said.

Mr Usman further accused Bala of continuously perpetrating unfair labour practice in his first tenure.

“This was the result of his vehement refusal to implement agreement reached with staff thereby creating unnecessary tension and conflict in the commission leading to man-hour loss,’’ he added.

All efforts by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent, who was at the protest venue to get the reaction from any management staff was unsuccessful as no one agreed to speak.

Mr Bala took leadership of the commission in 2013 and his first tenure ended in May 5, before his reappointment.

NAN reports that the ECN union in November 2017 embarked on a three-day warning strike over alleged administration anomalies.

The union accused the management of the commission of several labour maltreatment, including people not getting promotion when due and lack of training for workers.

It also accused the commission of under performing because the D-G did not understand its core mandate.

ECN mandate is to prepare periodic master plans for the balanced and coordinated development of energy in Nigeria, after consultation with agencies of government whose functions are related to the field of energy development and supply.

It is also charged with the responsibility for strategic planning and coordination of national policies in the field of energy in all its ramifications.

(NAN)


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